Professional and Technical Writing/Business Communications/E-Mail
E-mail (Electronic Mail) is now used by virtually every business and company (in North America, East Asia, Australasia and most of Europe) as a way of communicating both within the business and with other outside businesses. As a fast, reliable way of sending messages and interacting with people in all sectors of the business world, e-mail has emerged as the number one way of communicating.
Historically, E-mail is used as an informal way of communicating to other workers. E-mail straddles the line between informal communication and formal business interaction and while it has become increasingly more formal in manner, e-mail is still hard to pinpoint in a business setting because of the inability to tell emotion or tone of typed text. Caution must be used when writing e-mails in a professional business setting as to choice of words and selection of organizational elements of the document. As stated below, all e-mails are saved and recorded, as well as potentially read by any number of people. Emails are a great tool in the workplace, but must be used with caution. Keep in mind the following tips when composing an e-mail.
- Limit email use in the workplace to business-specific information and topics.
- Review email for legal implications, because any and all written documents in a business environment can and will be used in court.
- Use professional language and tone.
- Pay attention to your audience and consider their background when writing.
Professional business communication is essential to the success of any corporation. This could include writing memos, reports, or proposals. Any corporation, even small businesses, can benefit from professional and technical communication. There are many different forms and aspects of business communication. Two criteria for solid communication involves the ability to persuade and to be usable in business writing.
Business, in the modern day, is extremely intense. When writing business documents such as memos, reports, or workplace e-mails, it is important to consider these points.
- Efficiency in the business setting is of extreme importance and it all begins with communication.
- Wasting time in communicating is ultimately wasting money in today's society.
The accuracy of any work is extremely important, especially if it is something that is intended to be truthful or obtain a position of interest; like a resume. If an employer or anyone associated with the employer (audience) finds out that you lied or exaggerated on anything you severely risk not obtaining or even losing your job. It is in everyone's best interest to be completely truthful when compiling any form of business document. Not only can your job be tainted, but the loss of respect from others can be even more damaging.
Audience: Intended vs. Unintended
Every document that is created is normally crafted to someone specifically. This someone would be your intended audience, for your writing style, and content will be tailored to their appeal. Emails, unlike some other business documents, are not restricted to just one person, or intended audience.
Carbon copies and blind carbon copies
When working with emails, it is possible opt to use carbon copies (CC) and blind carbon copies (BCC). Carbon copies are used to send messages and other documents to other recipients. In many situations, however, an unintended audience could come into play. This could be anyone that you never expected to see your document, such as a boss or co-worker. For example, if you send an email to a co-worker talking about the company that you work for, or even your peers, the co-worker is your intended audience. Although, if your boss were to come across this document, he or she would be the unintended audience and there could be severe repercussions if the email was not crafted with other people in mind. Another issue is you may be sharing personal information without permission, since all emails addresses involved sender and receivers will be visible to all. This is where blind carbon copies come in handy. A blind carbon copy is used to send copies of documents and messages to other recipients without the original recipients knowing. For example, you find out that one of your co-workers could be involved in potentially illegal activities, so you send an email to your co-worker confronting them about the activity, and you send a blind carbon copy to your boss, so that he or she becomes aware of the current situation and potential future consequences.
All aspects of your business documents should take into consideration everyone that could potentially read it. By ensuring this, you will save yourself and even possibly save your job. The worst case scenario could be that your document's untended audience is the people in a court of law. Please keep in mind that by protecting your company, your boss, and your job by examining your work for legal liabilities will also be protecting the public. As mentioned above, you never know who will be reading your documentation, so if an unintended reader who is not authorized to read or use your document, decides to use it, they could be putting themselves and others in significant danger.
Overall, one must always consider who will be reading or witnessing their documents. With the business world becoming more and more global, it is increasingly important to understand how to communicate with a foreign audience as well. Something that might not be offensive to you, could easily be offensive to someone from another culture. No one will make decisions in your favor if they feel that you deliberately offended them. This could all be caused because your communication was lacking, and you weren't properly considering your audience.
Different Types of Business Communication
Communication in business varies from task to task. Here is a list of just some of the different documents that can come up in the business setting:
- Memorandums (Memos)
- Feasibility studies
- Cover letters
Ending a Communication
After getting your main point across you should properly end communication. Ending a communication is as important as getting your point across. Research has shown that the reader is able to remember things said at the end of communication more than in any other part of communication. The ending is an important place to influence the readers' impressions of the subject you are presenting. In order to properly end communication, it is important to follow the guidelines presented below.
- Guideline One
- After you've made your last point, stop. Try to use a pattern of organization that allows you to stop at a natural place.
- Guideline Two
- Repeat your main point. Make sure to emphasis your main point in your conclusion. It allows the reader to think about the main point one last time.
- Guideline Three
- Summarize your key points. Although this guideline is similar to the one above, when you summarize, you are ensuring that your audience understands your entire communication.
- Guideline Four
- Refer to a goal stated earlier in your communication. It is common to state a goal in the beginning of communication. Referring to your goal at the end of communication sharpens the focus of your communication.
- Guideline Five
- Focus on a key feeling. In some communications, it may be important to encourage your reader. Therefore, focusing on a feeling will help focus your reader.
- Guideline Six
- Tell your readers how to get more information. Giving future communication assistant will encourage your reader.
- Guideline Seven
- Tell your readers what to do next. Giving guidance will help lead your reader in the direction you want.
- Guideline Eight
- Identify any further study that is needed.
- Guideline Nine
- Follow applicable social conventions. Examples of this are letters ending with an expression of thanks, and a statement that it has been enjoyable working with the reader.